'Tis the season to be jolly, especially if you're in a relationship! With all of the holiday parties, gift giving, family get-togethers and general merrymaking, there's no shortage of things to do with your sweetheart. Here are a few festive Christmas date ideas in case you run short on your own:
All the Pretty LightsFind a neighborhood that goes all-out with the Christmas decorations - we're talking icicle lights everywhere, glowing reindeer and even animated snow globes - then invite your partner to join you for a stroll on a quiet night. If you have yet to find your very own winter wonderland, ask a friend or hop in the car and go out hunting together. In San Diego, the Del Mar Fairgrounds has a public light show every year that you can drive through; outside of Philadelphia, Longwood Gardens is open late for light shows and caroling; in New York, you can check out the Bronx Zoo filled with Christmas lights. See what's available in your neck of the woods and don't forget to bring along a thermos of hot cocoa or cider to stay warm!
Relax to an Old Christmas Radio ShowThis is the Christmas version of our classic radio broadcast date idea. Start out by downloading an old Christmas show like A Christmas Carol, Miracle on 34th Street, It's a Wonderful Life, or 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. We've added a few links up there to the right or you can check your local library, bookstore, or other web sites for shows. Set the holiday mood with a sparkling Christmas tree, a cozy fire, and a warm mug of eggnog then relax to a classic Christmas story!
The Spirit of ChristmasEggnog is great but the real spirit of Christmas can be found in helping others. Take some time this year to volunteer at one of the many worthwhile charities to give a gift that someone will truly appreciate. You could help out at a local soup kitchen together, dress up as elves and spend an afternoon jingling the bell outside a supermarket, donate used clothing, canned goods or toys, or contact your church for a list of charitable events. Another fun way to help those in need is to host a party for friends or family and "charge" admission in the form of toys, canned goods or clothing. Or you can make Christmas cards explaining your charitable cause and put them in your neighbors' mailboxes. This is a great to get to know your fellow residents and it will make it easier for them to get in Christmas spirit by simply dropping of their donations as your house rather than trying to locate a charity. Last but not least, you and your partner can give blood. Blood banks always need more around this time of year so consider taking an hour to donate. You'll feel good about yourselves plus we hear they offer free cookies and juice. Top that!
Make it from ScratchWhen most of us think about our childhood Christmases, we remember a house filled with the delicious aroma of holiday baking and an endless supply of treats. This year, get crazy in the kitchen together with your very own Christmas confections from scratch using these recipes for homemade hot cocoa, Christmas sugar cookies or gingerbread men, and candy canes. If you start early enough, you can make extras and give them away to friends and family as gifts!
Gift Exchange PartyInstead of trying to buy gifts for all of your friends this year, why not have an exchange party? Everyone brings a wrapped gift that's suitable for just about anyone (think chocolates, wine, gourmet coffee, homemade cookies, candles, bath salts, etc.) Note whether the gift is better for a man or woman and list any potential issues like "recipient must love coffee" or "contains nuts." When the time comes, instruct your friends to pick a random present and open it! When you're done, play a round of Yankee Swap if you'd like to exchange your gift for someone else's. Since everyone only has to buy one gift instead of individual presents for the entire group, you can spend a little more for something nice and still save money!
Get CommunalMany towns offer holiday events such as tree lighting ceremonies, parades, open air holiday markets, caroling and other Christmas events. Check your local events sites and blogs, government and tourism board web sites and newspapers for a calendar of events. Then bundle up with your sweetheart and enjoy!
Deck the HallsTake a trip to the local lot or head out to a farm to cut down your very own Christmas tree this year. Some tree farms even offer hot chocolate and marshmallows so do some research to find the best one! When you get it home, turn on the holiday tunes and trim your tree. After you've refreshed yourself with some holiday nibbles, take it one step further and decorate the rest of the house and front yard while you're at it!
Personalized PresentsThis one is like our ceramics painting date but instead of making things for yourself or a date, you're making them for friends and family. Put together a list of people, along with activities they enjoy (sports, hobbies or artistic pursuits) then paint their favorite things onto mugs, bowls, or plates. Another idea is to paint up a big Christmas bowl (for making cookies), platter, or mug that they can take out every year as the holiday season approaches. You'll have a great time making personalized gifts for your loved ones and they'll appreciate the extra effort!
Tis the Season...for Christmas Movies!Snuggle up on the couch and get into the holiday spirit with your favorite Christmas movies or specials. Our favorites are A Christmas Story, It's a Wonderful Life, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, The Miracle on 34th Street, Elf, Love Actually, A Christmas Carol (or Scrooged), and even The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Watch a Christmas PlayMany local theaters offer seasonal productions of classic Christmas stories such as How The Grinch Stole Christmas and A Christmas Carol. If you'd prefer the ballet, purchase tickets to The Nutcracker or even the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular if you live near New York. Support the arts and get yourselves a little culture while you ease into the Christmas spirit this year!
And if none of these ideas do it for you, you can always just head outside and play in the snow! Merry Christmas!
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